Germline-dependent transmission of male reproductive traits induced by an endocrine disruptor, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, in future generations

Radwa Barakat, Po Ching Lin, Chan Jin Park, Mohamed Zeineldin, Sherry Zhou, Saniya Rattan, Emily Brehm, Jodi A. Flaws, Che Myong J. Ko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In males, defective reproductive traits induced by an exposure to an endocrine disruptor are transmitted to future generations via epigenetic modification of the germ cells. Interestingly, the impacted future generations display a wide range of heterogeneity in their reproductive traits. In this study, the role that the Y chromosome plays in creating such heterogeneity is explored by testing the hypothesis that the Y chromosome serves as a carrier of the exposure impact to future generations. This hypothesis implies that a male who has a Y chromosome that is from a male that was exposed to an endocrine disruptor will display a more severe reproductive phenotype than a male whose Y chromosome is from an unexposed male. To test this hypothesis, we used a mouse model in which F1 generation animals were exposed prenatally to an endocrine disruptor, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), and the severity of impacted reproductive traits was compared between the F3 generation males that were descendants of F1 males (paternal lineage) and those from F1 females (maternal lineage). Pregnant dams (F0 generation) were exposed to the vehicle or 20 or 200 μg/kg/day of DEHP from gestation day 11 until birth. Paternal lineage F3 DEHP males exhibited decreased fertility, testicular steroidogenic capacity, and spermatogenesis that were more severely impaired than those of maternal lineage males. Indeed, testicular transcriptome analysis found that a number of Y chromosomal genes had altered expression patterns in the paternal lineage males. This transgenerational difference in the DEHP impact can be attributed specifically to the Y chromosome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5705
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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